Drudge: The Beauchamp transcripts; Foer to Beauchamp: “Let us control the way this story proceeds;” Foer exploits Beauchamp’s wife: “Ellie sent me an e-mail to tell you that it’s the most important thing in the world for her that you say that you didn’t recant;” Update: Foer whines, attacks the military again; Update: WaPo gets spun
Update 9:54am Eastern. Ed Morrissey also picks up on the paragraph in the Kurtz story in which Foer claims that “Beauchamp defended his story in a subsequent conversation that was conducted with no superiors present:”
Did he? Then why hasn’t TNR published the transcript of that conversation? After all, I’m certain that one of the reporters or editors in the room for that call must have recorded the conversation, if for no other reason than to make sure they had his affirmation on the record. That’s what reporters do when trying to ensure accuracy and verification….right?
Instead, we see today that TNR still has not responded to the release of the Army documentation. No one has even addressed the story at The Plank, TNR’s staff blog. No one, from Martin Peretz on down, has bothered to give an explanation for the transcript in which Foer threatened Beauchamp with his wife’s job if he recanted, or the named soldiers in the Army report who denied Beauchamp’s claims. All Foer can do is to argue — through Kurtz — that he has verified the stories with anonymous sources.
I find it hilariously ironic that Foer refuses to defend himself and TNR in his own magazine, but instead goes whining to Howard Kurtz — at the newspaper that he demanded Beauchamp refuse to engage. I wonder why Kurtz didn’t ask him about that, and ask Foer why he was talking to the Post when he didn’t want Beauchamp to do so. Foer’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Update 6:45am Eastern. Here is Howard Kurtz getting spun by Franklin Foer. I love how the editors of The New Republic make themselves so accessible only to hapless journalists incapable of asking the most obvious, simple questions about the magazine’s appalling journalistic malpractice.
So, uh, does this mean your “investigation” is done yet? When do you plan to tell your own readers about the transcripts? Why have you suppressed the existence of the Beauchamp conversation for more than a month? When will you retract your assertion that the military was gagging Beauchamp? Who did you file your FOIA request with and when?
Annoyingly, Kurtz completely omits the significance of Beauchamp’s fabricated story about the non-existent disfigured contractor. Here’s what he wrote:
Beauchamp had written that he and other soldiers had taunted a female soldier whose face was badly disfigured. The Army report said every soldier interviewed in Beauchamp’s unit could not recall such a woman and called the account “completely fabricated.”
Beauchamp wrote that he had taunted the woman while on the battlefront in Iraq–supposedly a sign of how war dehumanized him and his fellow soldiers. Except when challenged, Beauchamp then claimed that it happened in Kuwait. Before he had gone to war. And neither the military nor TNR can find anyone who will step forward publicly to corroborate this tall tale.
Someone send Howard a cluebat.
Another snort-worthy load of you-know-what from Foer:
While Beauchamp “didn’t stand by his stories in that conversation, he didn’t recant his stories,” Foer said in an interview. “He obviously was under considerable duress during that conversation, with his commanding officer in the room with him.”
While the discussion “was extremely frustrating and engendered doubts,” Foer said, Beauchamp defended his story in a subsequent conversation that was conducted with no superiors present.
And Foer planned to tell his readers about this…when?
Update 10:18am Eastern. My friend Mark Steyn gets it. Phew.
Update 8:03pm Eastern. TNR = Laughingstock.
Ed Morrissey makes this very, very simple for the uninitiated: “Foer can cast this in conspiracy theories all week long. In the end, TNR had all of the information it needed to conclude that Beauchamp lied to them and to their readers. Foer and TNR chose to keep it to themselves.”
Let me put it even more simply: Beauchamp lied, TNR’s credibility died (again).
Update 6:50pm Eastern. Franklin Foer comes out from under his desk to whine to the NY Observer about the transcripts being leaked. All of this damning transcript evidence of TNR’s attempts to cover up, and what does Foer do? He attacks the military again:
“It’s maddening to see the Army selectively leak to the Drudge Report things that we’ve been trying to obtain from them through Freedom of Information Act requests,” Mr. Foer said. “This fits a pattern in this case where the army has leaked a lot of stuff to right wing blogs.”
Mr. Foer said TNR had been trying since July to get access to some of the documents Mr. Drudge posted, but that the Army had not cooperated.
A reader e-mails: “Pathetic…he was waiting for access to his own conversation?”
Moreover, what is Foer’s evidence that it was the military that leaked the transcripts to Drudge?
What is it? Inquiring minds want to know.
The ship sinks and sinks and sinks.
Update: “If” they were wronged?
Update 5:30pm Eastern. My friend Kathryn Lopez misses the point entirely, I’m afraid.
I repeat Ace’s distillation for those who have only superficial knowledge of this scandal: Remember: TNR Hid The Existence Of This Phone Call From The World.
To paraphrase the Clintons: It’s the cover-up, stupid.
And TNR’s sliming of The Weekly Standard.
And TNR’s false allegations that the military was censoring Beauchamp.
And TNR’s pathetic attempts to wrest control of the story from Beauchamp as he attempted to tell other media outlets that he was not being gagged, use Beauchamp’s wife as a wedge, and refusal to acknowledge the truth of their journalistic malpractice.
The Jawa Report has also posted the docs.
Meanwhile, Bryan Preston put in a call to Franklin Foer. He’s in a meeting at the moment. He’s a very, very busy man, you know.
Update 3:50pm Eastern. The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, who got the ball rolling over the summer on this story, speaks:
It is now clear that somewhere along the way, TNR stopped acting in good faith and started doing damage control. They cited a Bradley expert who purportedly confirmed that the vehicle could be operated as Beauchamp described. But when Bob Owens tracked down said expert, BAE spokesmen Doug Coffey, he denied making any such statement, saying that TNR had mischaracterized his comments and that the editors had never shown him Beauchamp’s stories. He added that having read the stories, they were indeed “suspicious,” and that he did not believe the Bradley could be operated as described. TNR never acknowledged Coffey’s later statements or its apparent misrepresentation of his earlier statement.
And then came our report that Scott Beauchamp was no longer standing by his stories. The editors at TNR responded to this report by insinuating that THE WEEKLY STANDARD was not a credible source. They also accused the Army of “stonewalling” and preventing them from speaking with their author. That was on August 10. Bob Owens subsequently reported that TNR spoke to Beauchamp on September 7–the transcript now posted on Drudge–but TNR never returned to the subject, despite their claims of a “commitment to the truth” in that August 10 statement.
The documents posted by Drudge reveal that the New Republic’s editors have known for several weeks that the central anecdote of the story was untrue, that the other anecdotes were deeply suspect, and that the author was no longer standing by his work. And yet they remained publicly silent even though they had long ago promised to be open and forthcoming on the matter. Worse still, they asked Beauchamp to cancel pending interviews with the Washington Post and Newsweek, lest their complicity in Beauchamp’s slanders come to light.
Foer attacked his magazine’s critics as “reckless” and “ideologically motivated,” at one point even demanding an apology from the bloggers who did so much to advance this story and find out the truth of the matter. He now has more than a little ‘splaining to do.
Meanwhile, the Drudge link is now gone and NRO’s The Corner is oddly downplaying the transcripts and waiting for TNR’s talking points. From Peter Beinart, perhaps?
I’m not sure how you make “Let us control the way this story proceeds” and “Ellie sent me an e-mail to tell you that it’s the most important thing in the world for her that you say that you didn’t recant” sound less damning than they are. Good luck.
Update 2:51pm Eastern. After apologizing to its readers and advertisers, TNR editor Franklin Foer needs to apologize to the Army and our troops for continuing to suggest that the military stonewalled while the magazine obstructed the truth. Then, it seems to me, he will need to apologize to Beauchamp’s wife for cravenly exploiting her to try to save his sorry ass.
I didn’t think there could be a bigger crapweasel than Scott Thomas Beauchamp in this mess.
Franklin Foer wins, hands down.
Bob Owens weighs in: “Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.”
Ace of Spades, who was vilified for doing digging no one else would do, boils it down:
Remember: TNR Hid The Existence Of This Phone Call From The World. We only even knew previously that this phone call had taken place because a source of Confederate Yankee’s told him about it. TNR did not mention it. Even after it was disclosed, TNR did not comment on it, nor explain their reasons for withholding information about a fiction they had printed as truth. Reading the transcript, I can see why someone whose reputation and career depended on the story being true could convince himself the story had not been fully recanted. Foer could tell himself, “The guy is evasive, there are officers listening, he can’t say anything. So I can’t take this as a retraction.” I can see how he could tell himself that.
However, I cannot see where he convinced himself he could hide the existence of the call from the world, nor report to TNR’s readers his reasons for doubting the phone call proved anything. TNR could have said: “A recent phone call with Scott Beauchamp leaves us in a no man’s land where Beauchamp will neither re-affirm nor recant the stories to us. We suspect he is worried about his career in the military and possible punishment. He will not say he is, however. Under these circumstances, we must provisionally retract the stories, though we have no firm evidence they are false. But with a compromised writer also unable to affirm they’re true, neither can we stand by these stories.”
That would have been a (mostly) honest appraisal of the situation, at least from their own need-to-believe point of view.
Instead, however, rather than accurately and honestly describing Beauchamp’s complete refusal to affirm the stories as true, and offering their reasons for doubting this refusal to affirm to be conclusive, they instead simply withheld facts in their possession from the world and pretended the call never happened at all.
Update 2:45pm Eastern. Another snort-worthy moment from the phone conference transcript–watch Franklin Foer take umbrage at being lumped in with the rest of “the media:”
Part III of Drudge’s posting of the leaked transcripts is the official Army investigative report dated July 31, 2007. It is thorough, detailed, and damning. The findings are no surprise to anyone who has followed the story in the blogosphere:
Update 2:18pm Eastern. Glenn Reynolds searches for reaction from the TNR. Silence so far. It’s the sound of heads getting ready to roll. Also: I find it curious how TNR’s Peter Beinart never brought this up in his videoblog show with Jonah Goldberg. Must have just slipped his mind over the last month. Meanwhile, what apt timing: Commenter Capitano notes that the Independent Film Channel will be airing “Shattered Glass,” the saga of TNR’s first journalistic internal combustion, twice on Friday. Grab the popcorn.
Speaking of that movie, here’s Allahpundit’s reaction to the first part of the phone conference transcript: “It reads, I kid you not, like a scene from ‘Shattered Glass.’ All that’s missing is, ‘Are you mad at me, Frank?’”
Update: Okay. The transcripts are posted in three parts. Here are the participants in the September 7, 2007 phone conference between Scott Thomas Beauchamp and TNR…
At the very start of the call, Foer asks if Beauchamp has any restrictions. Beauchamp replies: “Other than OPSEC violations, I can talk about anything I want.” In direction contradiction to the “Army is gagging Beauchamp” propaganda from TNR, the transcript makes clear that it is Beauchamp’s choice not to talk to the media:
The conversation turns to Beauchamp’s wife, Ellie, then a reporter-researcher for the magazine, and Beauchamp’s foot-dragging on providing statements backing up his stories:
Now, here is a truly disgusting moment. Beauchamp lets TNR know he wants to talk to other news outlets to tell them he is NOT being censored. And what does TNR do? It attempts to censor him. Franklin Foer, and I quote, leans on Beauchamp to “let us control the way this story proceeds.”
Oh, and here’s more of crapweasel Foer using Beauchamp’s wife to try and extract corroborating statements from Beauchamp:
Wow. Someone leaked the Scott Thomas Beauchamp transcripts to Drudge. I’m reading through them now. Stand by.
Bob Owens, who has been on this story like white on the rice from the get-go and broken ground the MSM refused to all along the way, summed up the sorry state of TNR two days ago:
Far from intellectual honesty, the senior editor staff of The New Republic have proven their intractable corruption. Editor Franklin Foer, Executive Editor J. Peter Scoblic, and Senior Editor Jason Zengerle failed to do their jobs as editors, published a false story (though there are indications that all three of the author’s stories were fabricated, in whole or in part), more than likely lied when they claimed the allegations made had been fact-checked prior to publication, and then ran a false investigation that involved misrepresenting the claims of at least one expert, while attempting to bury the story and exerting influence over the author to cancel interviews with other interested publications…
…Details will continue to trickle out revealing just how deceptive the editorial staff at The New Republic has been to its readership and critics alike, and once those details are made public, I very much doubt that Franklin Foer, Peter Scoblic, and Jason Zengerle will be able to survive the coming purge.
As Scott Johnson has observed repeatedly, “It’s the cover-up that kills you.”
Michael Goldfarb and the Weekly Standard first launched the salvos that may sink TNR entirely here.
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